Dear Readers - A letter-writer’s childhood history of challenging, hurtful events led to poor choices growing up. I’m omitting any identifiable family to avoid unfair/wrong judgments. Instead, here are the realities she now faces, and seeks advice:
My parents separated when I was very young. I saw my father every other weekend. He wasn’t affectionate. When he started dating my soon-stepmom, I saw his affection to her.
They married. My mom died when I was a teenager and my dad moved out. I was on my own a few years later.
I made bad decisions. I fell in love with a convicted prisoner, believing he loved me, but he only played me.
I couldn’t get a good job, but worked at a gas station to support myself, 6-to-7 days weekly for over two years. That’s how I pay my rent, though it’s barely enough.
I’m now mid-30s and finally got a government contract but it was too far away for me to afford the gas. I’m back full-time at the gas station.
Another job came up which I wanted so badly, but I didn’t apply because I believed a good reference wasn’t possible. All I’ve ever done is the gas station….
I wasn’t living an honest life on the right side of the tracks.
I’m thankfully no longer with the convict, that ended a few years ago.
But I feel I’ve lost my chance to prove that I don’t deserve the bad-kid label. I’m hurt, defeated, angry and sad.
The only “social” thing in my life is dinner with my family. I live alone and I don’t have friends in the area. I’m so upset; I may not get over this.
That job would’ve made my life desirable instead of a burden to me and those around me. Why and how do I go on? Please help.
You’re so much stronger than you realize. Handed a tough, lonely childhood very early, you became a fighter for a better life.
But as a teenager living alone, falling for a convicted prisoner and other poor choices, was a cry for help. Others in your life may’ve wanted to help you... but not enough to steer you to better prospects.
You’ve fought on alone, worked steadily, supported yourself. That’s your inner strength. And you also have ambition besides survival smarts.
Consider this: Look for community groups that help troubled youth and seek training towards a job there. If you have any supportive family, ask for their help to finance social service courses for you. Your background, plus ambition, makes you a natural for this.
I’m hoping that readers who have experience with coming out ahead from such tough beginnings will also have suggestions for you.
I believe that once you focus your energies and drive on creating a better future for yourself, you’ll succeed.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding whether to attend an emotion-fraught funeral (May 25):
“If it were me, I’d explain to the grandson the risk of a disrupted funeral, or having many mourners shift attention from the deceased to you.
“Tell him you’d like to accompany him to the burial site several days later to pay respects and to talk/listen about his dad.
“Most people would give you a graceful pass. If you don’t attend, send a card, a meal, or flowers to the funeral, noting how his grandfather admired him.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the person who wrote that “80 is enough” (May 24):
Reader – “I know it’s not easy for you to reply to this situation. I’m in my late-80s and lucky to be independent, but I agree with the letter-writer. I wish for a “sell-by date” on human life. I know I’m not alone, and could really enjoy life if I knew that when I start to become a burden/nuisance to family and friends, I could say “enough.” I want to be euthanized.
“Loved ones would grieve but it’ll happen in a couple of years anyway. Meantime, money they could’ve used will be paid out to care-giving someone no longer wishing to be around.
“I know this isn’t for everyone, if an aging, incapacitated person is content and their family’s content, that’s fine. But for people who wish to, just go to sleep, why can’t it happen?”
Please see my previous reply (May 24).
Tip of the day:
Surmounting childhood losses and isolation reveals inner strengths and determination. Once focused, a better, happier future can be reached.